I had purchased a Garmin with GPS, our innocuous 35 mile ride would not have turned out to be 54.3. If only I had printed out a map rather than rely strictly on a narrative version. Ah well, if a frog had wings...
Amy wanted to ride to Joppa from Andice. This is a nice ride and I hadn't been out that way in several years. I got on Mapquest and mapped it out as I remembered it. We invited Chuck, our 77 year old friend who had a little heart surgery last year and was getting back into shape. Long time readers will remember I wrote about Chuck several years ago, when he lived in Lompoc. He had ridden with Amy before, but that was before she took up her bike class, so his memory of her riding was pedestrian pace.
Anyhow, we met in Andice at 8am and headed west. The sky was overcast but the forecast assured us it wouldn't rain (although an occasional drop did get blown out of the clouds). All went well until Joppa. County road 210 became our undoing. Even though my directions clearly stated we took CR 210 in an ENE direction, with a right turn coming next (my directions didn't give mileage to the next turn), we managed to take CR210 north. Most of the time, a county road will stop in a town (or in this case a crossroad on the map), and take up another number. Unfortunately, CR210 just takes a 90 degree turn at Joppa and continues. In a slight defense, there is a sign indicating CR210 going north but there is no sign going east. So when we saw the sign, and knowing that was the right number, we took it. To exacerbate the situation, the road surface was smooth, the terrain flat, and the wind at our back. We really enjoyed some big-ring cruising.
When we came to the end of the road, we took a right. It seemed like a busier road than what it should, and before long we saw were were on FM 973. Oops! But we were heading east, which at least was the proper direction. I knew we were north of where we should have been, but there were no county roads heading south. Eventually we arrived at US 183. In Watson. Pook! Ding-fu!! Amy has improved immensly, but riding on 183 with no shoulder was beyond her coping ability. We had to find a way.
Chuck saw a group of guys remodeling an old church and went over to talk to them while I phoned home to see what Marilane could tell me by bringing up Mapquest. We could either go back to Joppa, or continue east to Oakalla, then back south-west to Briggs. Guess what: Briggs is on 183. The guys told Chuck CR 211 was right out of Briggs, leading him to believe we could access it from FM 2657. It was 8 miles to Oakalla and 7 miles to Briggs. So we went 15 miles in order to avoid riding 7 miles on 183. Advantage us! Besides, it was a great road and Oakalla is a place most cyclists don't go to (thus affording us bragging rights, which might be construed as dubious).
Well, we had to go about a mile on 183 from Briggs to CR 211. Amy went first, Chuck with his bright white jersey second, and me with my blinking LED was behind, hoping that all the traffic would see us in time to change lanes. There were no incidents, but anxiety was pretty high. Once on 211, we could relax and continue on the journey. One more turn to the south, into the wind. By now, we were approaching 50 miles and Chuck was pretty frazzled, but moving.
With a few miles to go, he really wanted to be by himself, and urged us to let him pedal at his pace to the end. Having been in his shoes before, we agreed and upped our pace, although just like the last time I rode with Amy, she had more power than I.
Once at the car, with Amy stopping at the store for r&r, I loaded the bike and drove back to check on Chuck. He was less than a half mile down the road, so I drove back to the store to load Amy's bike and get a drink, and to eyeball Chuck. Definitely bonked, but nothing lots of liquid and rest couldn't cure.
As a post-script, all three of us enjoyed the ride (except 183). Both Amy and I took power naps, and I suspect Chuck did also. But I knew yesterday afternoon that my Sunday ride would take a hiatus, and the stiffness and soreness when I woke up just verified it was an excellent decision. And now that I know how to get out of Joppa, this would make a good repeat.